We have a huge sugar maple in our yard that is almost 200 years old. This spring when cleaning up the yard I noticed a lot of bark and smaller limbs have come off the tree and on one side at least, the foliage appears rather sparse. We've contacted a tree company to remove it, but I hate to see it go, however, I'm also concerned about a limb coming off in a high wind and killing someone! Any advice?

  • Are you able to post a photo May 6, 2023 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


You should have your old maple professionally assessed by a qualified arborist. Depending where you are you may have one available to you that's paid by your taxes through cooperative extension or your state forest service.

If you call someone to cut it down, they are going to cut it down.

If you want to know if it needs to be cut down, you need an evaluation, so (as it were) consult a doctor, not an executioner. If the tree needs to come down upon evaluation, see if you can arrange to have it turned into lumber.


Your first step will be to see if the tree has protected status. Depending on the jurisdiction that you live in this may involve your local/ municipal government, your state/ provincial/ county government or federal/ central government. In many areas, a 200-year-old tree may be protected, especially if it is in a character area.

I suggest starting with your local government as they will likely tell you about the upstream rules.

Once you know if you will be allowed to remove the tree, or what protocols you have to operate in, you should contact an arborist. Your local authority may have someone who will assess the tree, especially if it holds any status so you might get a twofer here.

The arborist will tell you whether the tree needs to be cut down entirely if a large delimbing is required or whether you can take a conservative approach to trimming.

You should now have a fair plan of what will be cut and whether you need permission to proceed.

Now you can contact a tree cutting service. You can always offer the wood if they're interested to soften the cost. Maple makes good firewood and there's plenty of time for it to be dried before the fall.

Explain to the crew exactly what you want done. Sometimes instructions don't translate well and you could find they cut too much. This could be a problem if the tree is protected and it will be your accountability at the end of the day.

Good luck with the job!

  • This sound slike it came from chatgpt, which is banned here. And it does not answer thh question May 11, 2023 at 15:04
  • It's not, it's just knowledge from many years working in municipal governments and a basic understanding of how to construct a plan. OP is asking for advice. The advice is to do your due diligence and engage a professional. 10+ years on SE and that's the first time I've ever been accused of plagiarism.
    – DWGKNZ
    May 11, 2023 at 16:50
  • 👍 It wasn't an accusation, it was a request for clarification. +1 May 11, 2023 at 21:52

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